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Judge My Idea: Brain Training App - Memory Training

KennyAronson

Contributor
Jan 10, 2019
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Hello my Fastlane Friends,

Imagine sitting in a lecture hall filled with mindless zombies listening to the professor drone on and on... Well that's what I have been doing maybe you have to, and thankfully I will be out of University this year. Now this brings me to a problem- with these mind numbingly boring professors- students everywhere have to memorize the information themselves after lectures. I hated this, repeating information over and over with flash cards to memorize was extremely boring to me. (And any other sane person)

Not only that, but it took forever to do. And here's why it's important for this story...

Your memory will always be important, even still after you graduate from the Indoctrination Camps known as High School or University. Memory forms the basis for all learning- you can say understanding is still better... but how are you going to understand something if it's not in your memory?

Knowing this... what if there was a faster way to memorize? Maybe the problem is we were never really taught to effectively create memories for new information? (Maybe make the information a little more exciting to your brain?

Well, that was my thought exactly in early 2018. I wanted a cure to my poor memory, so I set out to read tons of books, watch courses, and start doing some memory training. Eventually with some discipline and some interesting exercises I started to see an improvement. Instead of taking 2 hours to memorize a chapter's material, it only took 25 minutes. (And I still remember it- hello Stainless Steel alloy facts...did you know that adding Molybdenum to Stainless Steel helps to prevent pits?)

Obviously this is a useful skill. The key to make it work is to practice & make a new habit out of it.

So now you know the backstory... let me tell you how it relates to my Fastlane idea.

Did you know the brain training industry is growing, worth over $5 Billion? Luminosity has over 75 million users who have signed up?

Obviously you can probably see where this is going. My mission is to create a brain training application that helps people to improve their memories.

THE MISSION

Help 50 million people to improve their memory through the app's games and coaching functions.

THE PRODUCT

The product will be a simple application you use on your phone. There will be a variety of games included with the goal of training your memory. The key is to teach new ways of thinking about the information presented to make it more memorable. Then I want to include coaching tips after each game to help people try new tactics- then they can immediately practice what they learn.

Playing a game once will not make a change- so something to include is an algorithm which creates a training process for people to follow. The training process includes specific games for people to complete each day with coaching trainings. Finally, we want people to apply their new skills to the real world- so the training can include tasks for people to complete related to the real world. (i.e memorize the names of every new person you meet today)

Important things to note:
  • Lot's of memory games & trainings have you practice on random information. This is a waste of time and energy- for this application you will practice on real information which may have some benefit to you.

That's great and all, but so far it has been all talk- where's the execution plan?

I'm glad you asked. It's still early in development. I'm a relatively new developer, so I'm working on learning to develop android applications while figuring out the best training games and coaching content I can implement to provide the greatest results.

I'm following through all the google android development courses- still early and within the next few months I'll have a MVP prepared.

Now this isn't an execution/planning thread, so I will not go in depth to the whole game plan here- I just wanted to provide a high-level overview for feedback.

I have lot's of work to do, lots of value to provide, and I'm excited!

What are your thoughts? Is there anything I'm not seeing or another angle I can attack?
 

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Last edited:

FierceRacoon

Bronze Contributor
Jun 1, 2019
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First, there is something called "eidetics" and I had a book on it when I was a kid, so it's hardly new (Eidetics as brain training: forgotten and renewed!). Right now I've quickly googled a Russian school that has been around for two decades (Курсы скорочтения и развития памяти в Москве. Школа Супермозг. Тел. 8 (800) 500-02-90).

Second, I personally have been through eight years of vision therapy training which I am still attending, and therefore have seen a fair amount of computer-based exercises. It is a highly nuanced process involving, in my case, retraining the perception of sizes and distances, among other things. At some point we have chatted about Lumosity with one of the doctors, and he pointed out that there was a lawsuit against them, that they were claiming to be helping with Alzheimer's while there is not an ounce of evidence that it actually does (This Company Can No Longer Claim its Games Prevent Alzheimer's).

It sounds like you have no real understanding of the topic and have not worked with any substantial number of patients using existing training methods for any length of time. So you are probably not going to fare any better. Do you perhaps have experience with psychotherapy? Have you taught anyone anything for a number of years? Have you worked with a mentor for a few years? My suggestion would be to partner with somebody who actually has an understanding of the field.

I also knew an educational startup which was creating games for teaching math to elementary school students. It was a well-funded and ambitious project that spanned almost a decade and employed dozens of people. They did get considerable adoption, though in the end they had to shut down. It sounds easy, but people with PhDs in Math spent years reshuffling scripts for cartoon characters asking basic algebra and geometry questions. It's really, really, really nontrivial, or otherwise you are just going to get a fun game with as much therapeutic effect as any other fun game out there. Which is what will likely happen.

Overall, I would say, Marlboro is a fastlane, and so is the church of Scientology, and so was the medieval sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. Just because something is a Fastlane does not mean it is creating value: it can be creating perceived value while preying on people's ignorance. My feeling is that that is 99% of the brain training industry. (Unless you want to really understand the issues and actually create a useful product — then you need real expertise which you don't have.)

From a Fastlane perspective, note that it is relatively easy to create a brain-training game, which is probably why you are considering it despite only 1 year's worth of interest in the field. That's just my opinion anyway.
 

journeyman

Bronze Contributor
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Apr 18, 2017
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My worry about this is that you are going to end up having an app that is a good 10 min waste of time with literally no benefit. People tend to memorize differently, which may be the reason why everybody uses those cookie-cutter mind training apps for 5 minutes and deletes them afterwards. Plus, there must be little to no evidence of what constitutes effective, long-term training FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL and what doesn't.

Not trying to ruin your plans. But at this stage, I guess it's not a question of whether YOU can solve this problem but whether it CAN be solved with current technologies. I see no scientific angle in your plans.

If you are truly passionate about making this change, why not look at a novel, groundbreaking technology instead of an app?
 

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